Rheumatoid arthritis is a widespread condition that affects the lives of many seniors. Because of this, we believe that everyone should know some tips for living with rheumatoid arthritis.
This is an autoimmune condition, and the way it manifests is that your immune system attacks your joints by mistake. As you can imagine, this can lead to pain and interfere with your daily activities.
Even if it can be painful and uncomfortable from time to time, living with rheumatoid arthritis is possible, and if managed well, you can have the same everyday life as any other individual.
So, here are some useful tips that can help anyone who is living with rheumatoid arthritis. Do you find them useful?
This might sound counterintuitive, but moving around and doing some exercises can help you when you are living with rheumatoid arthritis. We know that when you are in pain, you don’t feel like moving because this might make your joints hurt more, but we advise you to not just lay in bed or on the couch and try to stay active as much as possible.
In reality, exercise is a good way to prevent the long-term symptoms of this condition, and it can also ease your pain. But keep in mind that not any type of exercise is suitable for you if you are living with rheumatoid arthritis. You can’t just decide that lifting heavy weights is the way to go. It doesn’t work like that.
You can try a more gentle approach and start with some stretching. This is a good way to begin your exercise journey. Stretch a little bit every morning and any time you feel like it, but be careful not to overdo it.
Also, some low-impact aerobic exercise is good to keep your heart healthy without putting too much strain on your joints. For those with RA, swimming, biking, and walking are all beneficial activities.
Now, if you want to keep your muscles strong, you can use resistance bands and use them for some light exercises. Lightweights are also allowed.
According to research by the Arthritis Foundation, some RA patients report less joint pain and swelling after doing yoga poses, breathing exercises, and relaxing. Research demonstrates that tai chi lessens chronic pain. Pilates is also a good choice because your body’s core becomes stronger, which relieves joint strain.
You are what you eat. This is a statement you can live your life by. And we think it is true. If you want to have a healthy lifestyle, you need to eat healthy food. This is not the only thing you need to do, but it is an important one.
When you are living with rheumatoid arthritis, you might want to keep a balanced diet. This is a smart move, even if the recent study didn’t find proof that a special diet can help. If you are wondering why we believe that a balanced diet is key, you need to know that eating some specific foods can fight inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in fish, such as salmon, trout, tuna, and sardines, and they counteract cytokines, which are substances that cause inflammation. According to studies, omega-3s can reduce morning stiffness and joint discomfort.
Additionally, you need colored fruits and vegetables because they contain antioxidants that help your body fight off harmful free-radical molecules. When speaking of carbohydrates, always choose whole grains such as barley, brown rice, and oats.
3. Manage stress
As you might already know, stress is a condition that can trigger many chronic diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis is one of them. The way this works is simple. Stress can easily increase inflammation, which can make RA symptoms manifest more severely.
We know that each of us has some amount of stress in our lives, and we are aware that you can’t completely avoid stress. It is a normal part of the human experience, but it is smart to know how to manage it.
There are many ways you can reduce stress when living with rheumatoid arthritis, but we are going to focus on only a few of them: arthritis-adapted yoga, talking to a therapist, going outside for a walk, journaling, and taking relaxation breaks.
Pro tip: Journaling can do more than help you reduce stress. If you are living with rheumatoid arthritis, it might be a good idea to create a journal of your experience with this condition. In this way, you can identify the triggers and learn how to avoid them. Also, you can see what works best for you, from diet to sleep patterns.
4. Keep an eye on your weight
If you are living with rheumatoid arthritis, be aware that your weight can affect your symptoms and the outcomes of the treatments that you take. According to statistics, almost two-thirds of RA patients in the US are obese, which is comparable to the overall population.
Cytokines are proteins that are produced by excess fat. Their presence can lead to the worsening of your symptoms because they cause inflammation. Also, those suffering from obesity have a higher risk of experiencing greater disability, and the treatments might not be as effective as expected.
Even if it is better to lose more weight if you are obese, even small progress can help you a lot. Some studies showed that losing about 11 pounds when you are obese or overweight can greatly improve the disease activity.
Try to maintain a healthy and consistent weight. This is the secret to managing your RA symptoms properly.
5. Stop smoking and limit your alcohol intake
The studies about living with rheumatoid arthritis and alcohol consumption are conflicting. Some suggest that drinking a small amount of beer can improve how the condition manifests, while others say that alcohol can increase inflammation, which can lead to more severe symptoms.
Our advice is to never consume too much alcohol. Always consume it in moderation. But with smoking, things are not the same. If you are a smoker and you want to improve your RA symptoms, the best thing you can do is to completely stop smoking.
Smoking can aggravate pre-existing RA and raise your chance of getting it, as well as decrease the efficacy of RA treatments.
It can be difficult for those with this condition to stop smoking because many of them smoke to numb the pain they feel in their joints. If you decide that you want to quit smoking, you can talk to your healthcare professional at any time so they can help you.
6. A new perspective for your daily tasks
Living with rheumatoid arthritis is not that easy, and many of your daily tasks can be affected by this condition. Hopefully, you can do some things that can make your life easier and adapt the way you do your everyday tasks.
First of all, try to be as organized as you can. You might have less energy, and this can help you use it effectively. Never spend too much time on a single task. Try to divide your tasks and spend 30 minutes on each. Switching things up might help you get them done more efficiently.
Also, whenever you do an activity where you can sit, please respect this and just sit on a chair or a stool. For example, when you are cooking, you don’t need to stand; you can do this activity while you are sitting.
In case rheumatoid arthritis is causing you writs and finger pain, you can try these compression gloves: DRNAIETY 2 Pairs Arthritis Compression Gloves
You should also read: Top 6 Foods for Gout Relief